Have a look at what it is like to take part in the Outperformer Program Assessment Center in the Global Headquarters in Liechtenstein.

1 year ago, Liechtenstein

My journey to Hilti – Assessment Center in Headquarters

Flashback: It is start of summer 2015. I am sitting on a train close to my destination; Schaan, Liechtenstein. Blue sky and sunshine over the Lake of Constance. In the background I can see massive mountains, still covered in snow. It is a beautiful scenery. For a short moment it feels like summer vacation. Swimming, hiking, mountain biking – The people sitting next to me in the train, seem to be equipped to have a good time.

Should I also expect to have a good time during the assessment center (AC) for the Hilti Outperformer Program? I was a bit nervous, but also excited to see what would happen. In hindsight I can say: Yes, the HR colleagues and assessors managed to put us participants at ease and make the AC a memorable experience. Here is what happened…

Day 1 – AC with Hilti in Schaan:

The AC started with a warm welcome from HR, followed by a tour through the Hilti Campus, the Innovation Center offices, the Test-Lab and the employee fitness-area. Afterwards Stefan Nöken, Member of the Executive Board, gave an introductory presentation about Hilti and walked us through his curriculum vitae followed by a Q&A session. Day 1 finished with a delicious Dinner in one of the nearby Hotels. This gave us a good opportunity to have a first small-talk with the assessors for the next day.

Day 2 – AC with Hilti in Schaan:

After the quite casual introduction on day 1, the actual assessment started on day 2. In various single or group exercises (presentations, case-studies, discussions…) the 10-15 assessors from the Top Management (e.g. Business Unit-Heads, Head of HR, Head of Logistics, Plant Manager…) were able to meet with all 15 applicants. Unlike with other companies, the assessors themselves gave each participant a qualitative feedback about his/her performance during the day. Feedback was given immediately at the end of day 2. One of my personal highlights on day 2 was the hands-on session. For 1-2 hours we had the chance to switch our business outfit for safety glasses, gloves and helmet in order to demolish concrete blocks, drill holes, cut some steel pipes and get a feeling for the applications and product portfolio covered by Hilti.

The number of applicants that pass the AC, varies from time to time. In our case three applicants were offered the opportunity to join the Hilti Outperformer program in the technical or logistic track. Another 2-3 applicants were offered a direct entry position at Hilti

It all started with a train ride to Liechtenstein. Now I am fortunate to live and work in the Rhine valley also called the “Happy Valley”.

My 14 month rotation in the Technical Track as Global Product Manager. A real job, with real responsibility from day one!

12 months ago, Liechtenstein

Starting in the Technical Track

1st of October 2015 – This is the date, that is marked in my calendar as my first day with Hilti in the Headquarters in Schaan and my first day as Global Trainee in the Hilti Outperformer program – Technical track. The technical track is designed to give us Trainees a good understanding about product development at Hilti. Typical functions in the product development are Technical Project Manager, Product Manager / Marketing, Development Engineer, Supply Manager.

In my first Trainee rotation (14 month) I worked as a Product Manager. I was given full, global responsibility for my own portfolio of products (~400 items) and a significant part of our business in revenues. A real job, with real responsibility from day one!   

My rotation started with a process of understanding the portfolio and segmenting it into meaningful pieces. I soon found myself juggling with technical and financial details about hundreds of different screws and inserts combined with a variety of tools as well as multiple applications and local differences in the portfolio. In order to learn the basics, I was always able to exchange thoughts with experienced colleagues and my mentor. I utilized our testing facilities or used the chance to visit Hilti Stores or customer job-sites for hands-on sessions to deepen my understanding.

Very quickly I needed to take ownership for my portfolio. I spend a significant part of my time on strategy work (segmenting and analysing the portfolio, defining growth potentials and the innovation pipeline, deriving a strategy and activities for the next 5 years).   

As a Product Manager I represented the customer’s voice in the process of developing new products (sensing customer needs, defining product requirements, outlining the business plan and the marketing strategy). Together with several members of our team I defined a new portfolio of products for the North American market. I worked closely with all other stakeholders in the development process (engineers, suppliers, plants, quality, market organizations, sales…).  

A Global Product Manager also is in close contact with the corresponding regional and local Product Managers across the world. My task required me to build a global network within Hilti as well as a thorough understanding of the Hilti business model and different market needs. All of this I was able to gain through multiple visits and interactions with our Market Organizations. During my first 14 months with Hilti I visited numerous colleagues and customers on construction job-sites e.g. in Europe (Germany, Paris, London) and the US (Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco). (see picture) 

In contrast to many other Trainee programs, where each job rotation is only 3-6 month, the Outperformer Program offered me the opportunity to deep-dive into a particular role related to development for more than a year. I very much appreciate that I was a full member of the team!  

I hope also you are now excited to learn more about product development at Hilti and the exciting job profiles that the Technical Track Outperformer Program has to offer.

In my second HILTI Outperformer Program assignment I was fortunate to spend 6 month exploring what "Made in Taiwan" really means. I travelled Asia learning more about HILTI & our customers, trying to improve the way we launch new products.

10 months ago,

Ní hào – Strategic marketing project in Asia

“Made in Taiwan” – We have all seen this line numerous times. Endless amounts of products are manufactured in Taiwan. From here they start their long journey around the world. On the other hand my journey to Taiwan only took 16 hours. It started in December 2016. For my second rotation in the HILTI Outperformer program (technical track) I was fortunate to spend ~6 month in this wonderful country.

This rotation of the Management Trainee program is planned to be a strategic project. Since the program is flexible and can be adjusted to individual needs, me and my mentor decided that I would spend this rotation in Asia instead of the head office in Schaan, Liechtenstein.

During my time in Asia I was responsible to re-structure and document the process that is followed to launch new products in our Asian markets. This entire process covers various decision processes (Which products do we want to launch? What is the right marketing strategy? What is our pricing & positioning?…). It also covers many operational processes (Market sensing, Logistic setup, preparation of the sales force, …). Overall the product introduction process has high strategic importance – a challenging but also very interesting task for a Trainee.

I started my assignment by assessing the status quo: How do we launch new products in Asia today? Soon I was in contact with various stakeholders (Product Managers, Marketing teams, Logistics, Tool-Service, Finance, Sales, …) including the general management of various countries in Asia. I facilitated workshops in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia to gather inputs and define improvements. The project was concluded in a final presentation with all General Managers of our Asian market organizations (see picture). A truly global experience, with real responsibility!

The project in Taiwan offered me a great opportunity to expand my knowledge about the HILTI world. I visited suppliers and manufacturing facilities in Taiwan and China. I also joined our sales representatives to job sites in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia. It was a great experience to work in one of our decentralized R&D facilities and learn more about product development for the Asian market in Asia. I was impressed by Taiwanese culture, the people and the amazing food. Xièxie / Thank you

Matthias

Technical Track, Year Two